Split facades: photographing Joburg’s inner city

Too many stories – so little time. But couldn’t leave out that on Thursday night I was at the opening of Split Facades at Goethe on Main, a debut photographic exhibition by Kutlwano Moagi, curated by a friend Thato Mogotsi. Having read Lin Sampson’s take on art openings “The Cringe Crowd” in Sunday Times (and laughed all the way through it)  I am still trying to figure out which kind of  art-opening hanger-on I am.

Boloba Fashion Store, corner Jeppe and Von Brandis, JHB CBD by Kutlwano Moagi

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Getting shot in Joburg

Ponte, by "I was shot in Joburg"

It sounds like a Hollywood script. A Joburg architect on holiday in Cape Town commits a misdemeanour and gets sentenced to three months community service. Not wanting to have to return to Cape Town he proposes to the court that he contribute to a community closer to home. He comes up with the idea to work with a children’s shelter to train youngsters in how to take photographs with disposable cameras. The plan is to work towards an exhibition of their work after three months. “All I wanted was to give them a night they would never forget,” says 35-year-old Bernard Viljoen.

Cue the scene of the judge stamping “accepted” on the proposal. That was the start of the project called “I was shot in Joburg”.  Now two years later an end to Viljoen’s  “community service” is nowhere in sight. When I contact him for an interview after buying one of the project’s photographs at Market on Main, in Joburg inner city’s Maboneng District, he is on his way to Cape Town to launch “I was shot in Cape Town”. Bloemfontein is next. Continue reading

Design Network Africa’s beautiful objects

Chair by Cheick Diallo

Coinciding with the Joburg Art Fair last week was an exhibition curated by Adam Levin of Imagine Nation (the global homeware store based at 44 Stanley Ave) that brought together 30 leading designers from 15 African countries. It’s part of a 36-month funded programme (Thank you Denmark) aimed at establishing “authentic interaction between design companies from throughout the continent who produce beautiful, contemporary work”, Continue reading

Surviving Joburg at The Bioscope

Head to The Bioscope at Arts on Main. Finally made it there on Wednesday night for the screening of Unhinged: Surviving Joburg, Adrian Lovland’s paean to the city. Funny, smart, a little anxiety-provoking in parts — much like the place that inspired it. The movie is a quick A-Z of the city with the youthful Loveland as compassionate navigator and guide to a city that is not always entirely loveable. Continue reading

FIFA 2010 official art posters

#182. Think of covering the walls with some highly covetable posters. To mark the (dare I say it – FIFA, don’t shoot) World Cup in South Africa in 2010 (there it’s out and so far the use of those words together in one sentence has brought me neither a lightning bolt nor an ominous knock at the door. In fact those German Shepherds barking are mine) a number of local and international artists were commissioned to produce some truly gorgeous works of art. An official Art Posters Edition series that “celebrates and pays homage to the beautiful game“.

The Good Game, Hassan Musa


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Hang it on Joburg’s skyline

#173. Complain about the grey skies, the constant rain, the traffic lights out and the seemingly endless commutes across town. But who wants to do that. With the skyline last spotted days ago I decided to stop relying on nature and get me a more reliable source.

Introducing the skyline by Love Jozi from their store (shared with uber-cool fashion label Black Coffee) at Arts on Main now showing on a wall near me.

Are we safe?

#152. Wonder whether walls make us safer? This after 24 hours in which I attended a community meeting with a security company in my area and then spent yesterday at a seminar called cracking walls at the Goethe Institute in Parkwood, Johannesburg. The Goethe is thinking a lot about cracking walls, what with the 20th anniversary of the “fall” of the Berlin Wall approaching, and now so am I. Continue reading

Joburg becomes art city this weekend

# 151. Follow the Spring Art Tour now at a gallery near you. Four days of contemporary art and design, walkabouts with artists, talks and white wine (usually cheap but purposeful) kick off tomorrow night. Continue reading

William Kentridge, that nose and my iphone

#141. Read Gogol on my iphone. An article in Business Day’s Wanted about the inspiration behind William Kentridge’s tapestries (now on display at Goodman Gallery at Arts on Main) had me searching my iphone for a copy of Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose . Continue reading

Arts on Main

#139. Head downtown to Arts on Main. It’s not often that you have an opportunity to witness a random conversation between two generations of South Africa’s  most talented artists whose work is collected by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and other major global art institutions. There I was walking through the courtyard at Arts on Main watching William Kentridge lean out of his studio window to talk to photographer Mikhael Subotzky.

My first instinct was to think someone had called casting central and requisitioned two famous artists: “We’re sending Kentridge and that Magnum guy  Subotzky. They can handle this gig.” Continue reading